A review of The Whisky River Band’s Album Launch at Bogbain Farm on the 23rd of June, 2012, by Frank Finlayson.
We’ve all seen the adverts at Christmas where hotels vying for a slice of the festive trade say bring a party to our party, but The Whisky River Band took that a stage further by taking their party to create a party at Bogbain Farm. Two double-deckers, that’s buses not biscuits, and numerous cars and taxis ferried the partygoers to the formal launch of The Whisky River Band’s debut album “The Taming of Me”.
Setting the night off was friend of the Whisky’s, Jake Bolt with an acoustic set, playing songs from his past and from his future, a future that now encompasses new band The Oxides. Although played out acoustically, the new songs display the verve and energy that you associate with Jake’s previous work with 28 Jacks and The Boosts. ‘Her Methadrone’ and ‘Our Writing on the Wall’ continue to set high standards, and for a band yet to play a gig, they have a prolific volume of new songs on their Facebook page – Well worth checking out! Equally, numbers such as She’s Mental, when in his days with The Boosts, have qualities that should have had a festival tent packed and bouncing, and I’m not referring to a Seedlings stage, but a more cavernous structure at one of the larger events. Hopefully The Oxides will fulfil the unfilled potential of The Boosts, and to find out for yourself head to Mad Hatters on 13 July for their first gig.
Drawing on another friend for support, Megan Blyth, the Whisky’s were showcasing all that is good in the local music scene at the moment. With each performance Megan is producing greater intensity and connection with her music. She is more focused, not that she ever wasn’t, and certainly there is a confidence flowing through her. Even with this maturity she still finds times for a little thank you at the end of each song. A thank you, that is, less from simple politeness, but from more from genuine appreciation. Not just enhancing her current catalogue which includes Fading Away and Freedom of Silence, new song Bring Me Down has a real gutsy feel and drive to it. Megan is growing up, and so is her performance level. See for yourself on 1 July at Hootananny where Megan supports Carly O’Connor.
Following on from Megan’s spirited performance the arrival of The Whisky River Band is anticipated. First on stage is Kris Douglas as the rest of the band, all suited (I did say it was a formal album launch) wait in the wings. Kris gently eases the crowd in vocally and acoustically, before the full band launch in with ‘Open Your Eyes’ and ‘Dark Cloud’, setting the floor in motion. Although a narrow stage, there is a complete and collective width to the bands’ sound driven along by Andy on drums and Chris on bass guitar, setting that firm base for Fraser and Iain to lead the line with Kris spearheading. But those Whisky’s fans they can be quite a raucous mob, and tonight was no exception, as they lapped up the set from start to finish. Earlier support acts, Jake and Megan played their part too as they joined in as and when required, as did Paul Elliott, to produce a blanket of warmth to fill the barn. Paul added an extra layer to ‘Feeling Alright’, and Megan particularly complemented Kris on ‘Live on a Wire’. Jake added that bit of showmanship to the party, which was more a celebration than an album launch.
As the substitutes came and went, Kris gave out thanks to those that have come and helped along the way. You can’t help but feel that real feeling and strength of togetherness that there is between the band and its audience. As the set bounced along to an all too early conclusion with penultimate number, their cover of Pearl Jam’s ‘Indifference’, and a final tear up to ‘No Regrets’, the crowd bayed for more. They got more, just the one though, as those kings of the swingers did their one final number in a full-on jam with their three special guests once more taking the stage with them, and I’m sure the front five or six rows would have done the same too if they could.
The album had been much anticipated for some months, and as album launches go, that was pretty damn impressive. Few would have left without their copy as they piled back onto the buses and headed back down Drumossie brae. Local bands produce great nights, and tonight was one of those great nights. Not words of great wisdom perhaps, but had the Dalai Lama popped along, he may have put it better. But hey, he wasn’t, so he was the one that missed out!